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Guest Blogging: Tips and Tricks for Your SEO Link Building Efforts

Search engine optimization is a house built on shifting sands at best. SEO's and online marketers have to constantly change tactics as they adapt to Google’s ever changing algorithm, and after the major Penguin and Panda updates rolled out there was a major scramble to once again refocus strategies away from spammy, black hat techniques. guest blogging for SEO link building

This has put guest blogging in the spot light as a great link building technique for SEO. However, this also means there is an immense amount of spam now associated with guest posting. In order to combat this and still get posts (and links) on high authority blogs, here are some tips and tricks that I use.

Be Real and Be Persistent

Webmasters and editors receive dozens of guest post submissions every day if they run an authority blog, and the sad truth is that 90% of what they receive is nothing more than bots emailing out thousands of emails or spammy link builders that don’t take the time of day to be personal. They simply find a blog that barely mentions guest posting, paste in their stock email, and usually forget to personalize it in any way.

Even if you take the time to write out a unique email every time, the odds are that you’ll still get lost in the shuffle - so try implementing these strategies into your outreach.

  • Make Jokes: Everyone knows you’re the next Louis C.K., so let your inner stand up shine when you outreach. Granted, you have to pick and choose your moments since not every niche and blog will be open to that kind of thing, but even a flat joke tailored to the site shows that you’re trying and not a bot.
  • Don’t Give Up: If you get a refusal then by all means, thank them for their time and move on. But if you don’t hear back at all then follow up at least two more times before giving up. I like to give the recipient 3-5 days before my first follow up attempt, then another 3-5 days before my last outreach attempt. Once again, on this last one don’t be afraid to try and be funny. “Hello?! Is anyone there?! I’m having flashbacks to 8th grade dances where nobody talked to me!” You’ll find that a surprising amount of people will get back to you after this last ditch outreach attempt with apologies of having not seen or original emails (yeah right).
  • Give Them Something: At this point, most bloggers know what’s up when it comes to guest blogging and link building, so showing a little love can go a long way. It tells the editor that you’re not completely selfish. Tweet and share some of their articles, even link back to a blog post of theirs if you can to get them some link juice too. At the very least, leave an insightful and engaging comment on one of their posts.

Keep the Reader in Mind at All Times

I’ve found that bloggers are more protective of their readers than some cow moose in the spring time. With that in mind, always put the site’s audience and readers in the forefront of your mind while trying to guest blog, especially when it comes to writing the content. Look at the titles already featured on the blog, and read a few too to get a sense of the style and tone of the pieces. Then write something unique to that blog that offers the readers useful information. If you wouldn’t be proud to run the post on your own site, then you shouldn’t be trying to get it on someone else’s to begin with.

Build Local Links

For local businesses, it can be difficult to start building links with guest posts, especially if you’re trying to stay relevant to your niche. However, when you start looking at local link building your “niche” starts to change.

My rule of thumb is that if you’re targeting niche websites to build links to, then go ahead and target national and international websites and focus on your broader keywords. But once you switch your focus from “online marketing” to “online marketing in [LOCATION]” then all of a sudden your niche moves away from “online marketing” and becomes “your location.” This means your target sites become any site that is locally focused, even if it’s a mom blog or catering service.

Of course, it’s best to keep your posts more tailored to your niche in order to keep the relevancy as high as possible. So a post titled “How Stay at Home Moms Can Engage in Online Marketing” might be a better title than your favorite chocolate chip recipe (go ahead and send that recipe over to me).

The Slow Cooker Approach

If you suspect that a site is going to be difficult to get a link on, then don’t try cold calling out of the blue with an email pitch. Take a few weeks (yeah, guest posting is rarely quick) and engage regularly on the site by leaving good comments and interacting with the editor and other readers. When you feel like the editor will recognize your name in their inbox, go ahead and pitch or submit your guest post and follow up like you normally would.

Respond to Comments

Always keeping the readers in mind means not leaving them in the dark; you wrote the article so if they have any questions or comments about it you should be the one to respond to them. Don’t simply get a guest post and then never interact on the site again – this makes it clear to the editor that you only wanted to get links. It’s also important to remember that the webmasters, bloggers, and editors who post your content have the ability to go in and remove your links at any time if they feel slighted.

Another important note, I’ve found plenty of leads for further guest posts on niche related sites by following the people who comment on my posts, then asking them if they’d like an article for their website. They’re already familiar with my writing and know they’ll get good content so that hurdle is out of the way, and they typically have a strong reader base as well which is a huge benefit for any guest post.

A lot of this advice boils down to remembering one simple fact that often gets overlooked: people link to people. Websites are simply a front for people’s interests, businesses, engagements, and whatever else you want on the internet. Remember that it’s not a robot fielding your requests for a guest post, and robots will not be reading the content, people will. Remembering this helps to keep you from acting like a link building machine and keeps you focused on producing great content and earning great links.


About the Author:
Thomas McMahon is a link builder who uses guest posting as his primary strategy (along with this dashing headshot). He currently works for Page One Power, a link building company that focuses on long term strategies and results.


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